To say Queensrÿche have had a turbulent year would be a strong misconception. With discrepancies between the main body of the band and Geoff Tate and a lawsuit yet to be resolved, the band are on precarious shores. The former lead singer Tate has formed his own version of Queensrÿche and released “Frequency Unknown”. The instrumentalists however, hired Todd La Torre and continued to tour as well as release this self-titled album.
From the first melodies sung by La Torre in ‘Where Dreams Die’ you can hear the familiar voice of Tate, although with an added flair setting him aside from the former. With this release it is a milestone in Queensrÿche history where another vastly different dynamic has been included in the band. One some will not like, but one that will be warmly welcomed by others.
This hard rock release is Queensrÿche’s shortest album but they managed to cram enough juice to make it a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Huge majestic choruses are a common trait; ‘Spore’, ‘Vindication’ and ‘Open Road’ are clear examples of this, songs that’ll no doubt require massive amounts of audience participation to get the intended effect. Huge guitar riffs are coupled with the ever familiar guitar harmonies. The guitar solos appearing here and there across the album are great as well, especially when the harmonies are featured. It may seem an over used trait but with the stadium rock choruses, storming guitar riffs and pounding drums this delicate measure makes the massive passages that extra bit more memorable. “Fallout” holds a much faster paced guitar solo, exploring Michael Wilton and Parker Lundgren’s tenacity and speed as guitar players without detracting from the more passionate verses.
With such a small running time though, for an album of this magnitude, it passes by too fast. Obviously there were hindrances in making the album but it’d be nice to see more evolution and some different vibes on the songs.
On first listen “Queensrÿche” passes by as a fairly decent rock album. The classic elements of hard rock and old school progressive metal are there, with added dashes of power metal. However, given time to sink in, the album becomes even more important. The album doesn’t need to take petty jabs at the former singer and manages to move onto newer ground. With a new vocalist the band is in uncharted territory and though this is by no means the best thing Queensrÿche has done, but it’s a strong release with a considerable change and one that’ll serve them well. It’s a fresh start for a brand new chapter.